For a while, it looked like whoever trained Le’Veon Bell for his exhibition boxing match had been playing an elaborate prank on him. Then Adrian Peterson walked straight into a hard right.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers running back emerged victorious from a sparsely attended Social Gloves exhibition against his fellow NFL running back on Saturday despite an embarrassing show of form in the first four rounds. Each boxer landed only a handful of blows — and few, if any, significant strikes — as the announcers glumly attempted to justify what viewers had paid for.
Bell in particular seemed to be fighting somewhere around the level of Nate Robinson, nearly bowing down at the waist every time he tried to get a punch in and getting knocked down by a single jab in the second round.
But, of course, boxing matches can be decided on one punch, be it from Deontay Wilder or a former Pro Bowler trying to switch sports. In the fifth round, Bell caught Peterson with one of his hardest swings of the night and left the ex-MVP too dazed to continue.
That wasn’t the wildest finish of the night, however, as former NBA guard Nick “Swaggy P” Young saw his boxing debut end with him flying through the ropes after contact with TikTok influencer Minikon, a last-minute replacement for rapper BlueFace.
The match was called as Young lay on the mat in clear pain.
Fortunately for Peterson and Young, not many people were around to witness his fall. Per a report from Dexerto, the Social Gloves event sold only around 200 tickets at the 22,000-seat Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles and organizers eventually resorted to giving away 1,000 tickets.
Even with that attempt to boost attendance, there were enough empty seats visible to make the Oakland Athletics blush. The emptiness was visible at nearly all times during the stream, but the bleakness came into focus through social media video.
No matter how he got there, Bell can at least call himself a winner, though. Which is good, because the former All-Pro apparently wants to make a career out of this.
Bell said before the fight he is staying away from football to focus on boxing and reiterated that after his win Saturday. When asked if he wants to turn professional or stick to the celebrity boxing circuit, he responded “hell yeah.”
“I want to see how far I can go. I want to test my limits,” Bell said after the match. “I’m going to continue going, see what happens after this. I’m going to enjoy tonight, don’t get me wrong. I worked so hard for so long. I’m going to enjoy tonight then work out everything else later.”